By Shanna K. Salmon
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Tourism minister, Edmund Bartlett, continues to advocate for the development of a regional multi-destination tourism framework.
Participating in the Caribbean Aviation Day multi-destination tourism panel discussion on Wednesday, September 14 in the Cayman Islands, he reiterated that “governments must work closely to examine the issues of tourism costs, air connectivity, the harmonisation of visa policies, airspace usage, and pre-clearance arrangements.”
“One possibility that can be effectively explored is adopting measures that would enable tourists to travel more conveniently to and among the countries within a region, such as visa waivers for select countries or a multiple entry visa,” he noted.
The minister said developing a multi-destination tourism strategy in the Caribbean would be beneficial, not just to tourists, but also citizens.
“More locals will become engaged in the tourism value chain, small and medium-sized businesses will enter the market, providing more goods and services, more persons will be employed, and more revenues will be generated for governments,” he pointed out.
Prior to departing for the Cayman Islands, Bartlett addressed a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank, where he indicated that multi-destination tourism will be among the topics for discussion during bilateral meetings with other Caribbean ministers.
“We also will be talking with airlines because multi-destination cannot happen just with public sector engagement. It has to be a public/private sector arrangement because the product is that of the private sector,” he said.
The minister noted that while Jamaica’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is going well, “we have to strengthen certain marketing strategies” to ensure sustainability, adding that one such measure is to work with other Caribbean countries on a multi-destination arrangement.
“This period is going to focus a lot on multi-destination tourism, where we are going to be looking at how the other Caribbean countries can collaborate to create a strong and more powerful value proposition to the international market,” he pointed out.
Minister Bartlett further argued that with an anticipated period of hyperinflation and issues relating to supply chain distribution affecting the traditional tourism markets, being able “to pull people from far-flung areas, who are not now a part of our marketing mix”, will be a key factor in maintaining the sector’s growth.
Jamaica has already signed multi-destination marketing Memoranda of Understanding with the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico, and Cuba.
Meanwhile, the ministry will be observing Tourism Awareness Week from September 25 to October 1 under the theme: ‘Rethinking Tourism’, which will also incorporate the observance of World Tourism Day on September 27.